Traveling with an elderly parent isn’t always easy, but it can be done smoothly and be quite enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to get away with your parent and spend some quality time together while taking in the sights and the experiences. Here are some tips that will ensure that your next trip with your elderly parent is one you’ll both remember with fondness for years to come.
5 Tips for Traveling with an Elderly Parent
Consult a Doctor
Before hitting the road or the skies, get permission from your parent’s doctor. He or she can give you detailed instruction on medication and basic care of your parent. The doctor could also give you tips and advice for making sure your trip goes smoothly.
Choose the Destination Wisely
What kind of things will you be doing there? What are the accommodations? As much as your mom or dad may want to traverse through the Rocky Mountains, that just might not be a wise option. Consider your parent’s limitations and be sure to choose a travel destination that is both enjoyable and safe.
There’s a lot to consider and arrange before heading off with an elderly loved one. Here’s a few of them to add to your checklist:
- Arrange special services: Check in with the airline to find out if they have special seating for the elderly or disabled. Will your parent need a wheelchair? Easy access to a restroom? Book a room in the hotel that is on the ground level and has handicap accessibility if necessary.
- Allow for extra time: Arrive to the airport in plenty of time. When scheduling what you will do while at your destination, be sure to include breaks and rest times.
- Schedule travel time during late morning and early afternoon: Traveling can be exhausting for everyone, but especially for the elderly. Choose a time of day that your parent feels the most alert and energized to face the travels ahead.
- Know where medical facilities are in the area: Be prepared for any potential emergency. Research where the nearest hospital and urgent care center is, and be sure to bring along any documentation necessary should an emergency arise.
- Ask about senior discounts: Senior discounts aren’t always broadcast so don’t be afraid to ask. You’ll likely find quite a few places that do offer discounts.
Keep Essentials Close By
Be sure to stock the carry-on bag with necessary medications and paperwork, and any other essentials that you or your parent will need to access easily. Even if traveling by car, have the bag within reach stocked with snacks, entertainment, a comfortable neck pillow, and whatever else you might find necessary to keep your loved one comfortable and traveling simple.
Remember that your elderly parent isn’t quite as nimble and energetic as she once was. Be patient and understanding of her limitations. Show her that traveling can be a wonderful time for you both, even if you have to move a little slower. Do what you can to create a somewhat regular routine for the sake of easing your elderly parent’s mind and allowing her to fully enjoy the experience.